“… the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.” (Genesis 41:32)
Joseph was a man of just thirty years and yet he had experienced being sold into slavery by his brothers, he had risen to the highest position in Potiphar’s house, had been falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and imprisoned for as much as three or four years. Most people would blame God for allowing these circumstances – and then abandon Him. However, Joseph had a mindset similar to Job who also suffered extreme adversity. Job’s response from the heart was, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10)
God had a plan for Israel and his sons that would establish the nation Israel. Joseph demonstrated that he was God’s man as he served Potiphar and as he served the keeper of the prison while a prisoner. This is revealed prominently in Genesis 41. At every opportunity Joseph gave God the glory. This is revealed in his statements; “It is not in me, God will give …; God has shown …” and also in the verse at the head of this article.
Joseph did not say these things publicly hoping for the admiration of others for his humility. He neither secretly nor publicly allowed himself to receive the praise of men. That matter had been resolved earlier in his life and he knew that God had a plan for his life and would fulfil it. This is true humility.
Some may refuse praise publicly and with their lips give glory to God but in the secret recesses of their hearts they accept the praise and glory as to themselves. God cannot use such a person in a public position. He will not share His glory with the creation for it does not belong there. Joseph knew that it was the Lord who had directed his path and from his heart he praised and worshipped God giving Him all the glory. He did not secretly receive the praise of men and allow himself to be puffed up in satisfaction.
No wonder he was a man whom God could trust in the place of power and influence. He had shown himself faithful in the secret recesses of his heart and out of sight of men so God would now trust him openly for all to see. Joseph was unaffected by the high position in Egypt as can be seen in the naming of his two sons. “Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: ‘For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house.’ And the name of the second he called Ephraim: ‘For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction’” (Genesis 41:51, 52). He always, both in the secret places in his heart and publicly, gave God all the glory.
A carnal man will secretly seek, foster and receive the praise of men while at the same time professing to give God the glory. Indeed, even in the public profession of giving glory to God he is seeking the praise of men. Our own hearts deceive us and we gladly accept the deception because we love the praise of men. We cannot change this deceitful heart. It must be put to death.
Only God can give us a new heart and He does so as a gift in Jesus Christ. Any attempt to change our own hearts will result in self deception. Let Him do it. Ask Him to do it and as you see the evidence of the heart of Christ in you thank Him for it.